FLM Aug by suchenfz




                              M PS
             O SS                ES
                     H ON T I NU
     CYC          IT C
                W K
 A F         O N O .U
R          AS G.C
        SE IN
     HE YCL
   T C                 OS
                  H ER
     RE        OR

Give them a
go, you
never know,
you may
just like
them! !

Ride or sup-
port, get in
touch and
muck in! !
             Here we go again!! I’ve been busy, that old chestnut again I hear you
 EDITORIAL   say!!

             Yet again there is plenty going on within the club and tons of opportuni-
             ties for people to get involved, either riding bikes, supporting riders or
             helping out at events that are run by RAF Cycling Club.

             The Coast to Coast is up on us again and I’m having another go. It’s a
             really good chance to get to see the people who make the wheels go
             round and keep the club going in all the different categories that we are
             proving to be highly successful in.

             The Trans-Wales event has taken place and the RAF had no fewer than
             four riders and without doubt the best support team in place to battle
             through the toughest conditions to put on a sterling ef-
             fort on all counts. Well done guys for pulling all the
             stops out to keep things going!!
In this edition:

What’s happening in the RAFCA                          Page 4

My Season With Recycling.co.uk                         Page 5

Mountain Mayhem                                        Page 7

Help for Heroes                                        Page 8

Cyclocross                                             Page 13

                            Front page picture courtesy of Dave Froy
What’s happening in the RAFCA today
The annual RAFCC AGM is taking place at RAF Cosford this year and will incorporate the inau-
gural RAFCC Bike Fest that will take in some of the best riding on offer around the Shropshire
area with mountain biking around Cannock Chase, road rides around the Cosford and surround-
ing areas and also in the planning is a trialquest event that will be open to road and mountain bik-
ers. For further details contact Andy Thirlwell on 95341 ext 6635. the usual social elements will
take place, including guest speakers (to be announced when confirmed).

Plans for the next track day are well underway at the moment. Feedback from everyone who has
attended these events has been outstanding. If you are interested contact Andy Mclean on
95471 ext 7459 or visit the forum on the RAFCC website. No experience is necessary as training
will be given to all in the morning, followed by a ‘friendly’ competition in the afternoon. Bikes can
be supplied by the RAFCC, although you may need to supply your own footwear and pedal sys-

PRESIDENT                 R Lock            96161 x 8010
                          Don Tanner
                          Moose Elkin
                          Trev Batey
                                            93510 x 3531
                                            9352 x 31762
                                            9360 x 43923
                                                                    Your articles, letters, comments,
DEP HONORARY SEC          Andy Thirlwell    95341 x 6635         tech tips and anything that you think
ROAD SEC                  Chris O’Rourke    95721 x 7892
                                                                  other members may want to know
                                                                about. It doesn’t have to be the size of
CYCLOCROSS MANAGER        Lee Simpson       95236 x 6343
                                                                a Harry Potter book, often a paragraph
TIME TRIAL MANAGER        Jon Surtees       95771 x 6150                with pictures will suffice.
ROAD RACE MANAGER         Mark Griffin      95461 x 7844
                                                                  These can be sent to me by mail to
MTB SEC                   Gareth Bufton     95561 x 7336
DEP MTB SEC               Neil Richardson   95341 x 7544                   Bryan Crossman
TRACK SEC                 A Mclean          95471 x 7459                        TMS
RAF CHAMPS MANAGER        Mick Cutler       95461 x 6540                    RAF Marham
                                                                             King’s Lynn
COMMUNICATIONS SEC        Ian Hall          95261 x 7137
                                                                              PE33 9NP
DEP COMS SEC              Andy Holmes       95221 x 6135
MEMBERSHIP/FLM DIST       Martin Bishop     95341 x 7731/7734               Or by e-mail to
WEB MANAGER               Ged Doyle         94382 x 3314
DEP WEB MANAGER           N Mason           95423 x 4108
FLM EDITOR                Bry Crossman      95951 x 6517
RESULTS CO-ORDINATOR G Beezer               95721 x 7453
HEAD COACH                Dave Green        95991 x 7401
EXPED + DEVELOPMENT       Sam Bennett       95561 X 7656
DEP EXPED + DEV           Si Harrison
TREASURER                 Paul Kiff         94331 X 3497
EQUIPMENT                 Mark Marsey       95371 x 5383
CLOTHING                  Chris Tasker      95421 X 7292
My season with Recycling.co.uk
By Mike Jackson

Part 2                                                     stopped too, Adam Bonser had nothing in him on the
                                                           first climb and unfortunately did not finish the stage. We
                                                           were now down to 4 riders in the team but spirit was still
Stage 1 was a trip to Southampton. Sandy had ar-           good and we all looked forward to the next day.
rived at midnight and was instantly on song, he
spent the day in the team car while I did the hotel
run with Colin, one of the swanny’s. This was going        Stage 3 was to be a better day for the rest of the team. I
to be the norm for the week, like the Trans-Wales/         was asked to be the team mechanic for the day, sitting
Scotland events I had performed as a mechanic and          with John in the following team car and ready to sort out
managed, stage transfers were going to be the killer!      any mechanical issues on the road, a big responsibility to
For riders and team-mates alike, long transfers at the     the team. The stage started in Worcester and was to
beginning or end of the day, or both would be what         finish in Wolverhampton. When the boys set off for the
we could expect. On arriving at the quaint hotel I         day I was ready with the spare wheels and bottles and a
shared the water and electrics with the Rabobank           big smile on my face. This was to be a great day for me,
mechanics that we were going to be staying with and        I personally learnt so much about the workings of the
helped to cart the many team bags to the rooms.            race, team and riders. No punctures all day, I only had
John had asked for all the bags to be clearly labelled     to get out of the car for comfort breaks! Lots to do in the
before the race, not easy to spot one bag from an-         car though, following the breaks and keeping tabs on
other when they are all supplied by one of the many        how one of our riders was doing in the break. Rob Par-
sponsors, Rudy Project, and they are all the same          tridge had rejoined the team after a time in Italy with a
size and style. A rethink on the labelling side of         team out there. He was a little more experienced than
things would be a godsend.! Maybe next time? The           the 3 other riders left and saw a good opportunity when
rest of the team turned up and Sandy and I sorted          a break of 9 leapt off the front of the peloton. They
the bikes, team car, feed car and team van for the         stayed off the front all day with all the riders in the break
next day. This meant getting out all the accumulated       contributing to the break. None of the teams in the pelo-
rubbish from all the vehicles (used bottles, Go gel        ton were going to chase as none of the breakaway group
wrappers, half eaten food, the list goes on), cleaning     were up in the general classification so it was down to
and drying the cars, setting them up for a quick get-      the 9 riders to go for the stage win. Rob played his part
away and degreasing, cleaning, checking and re             but just lost contact with the rest on the last climb and
lubeing the bikes. The team race strip also needed         came in 8th on the stage. John had been a different ani-
washing, bottles making for the next day, rider food       mal in the car, calm, methodical and jokey at times on
making amongst many other jobs. The whole team             the outside, animated, passionate and ultra focussed in.
was very slick; they had clearly done this many times      I saw how the team really worked on this stage. When
before. I was just a piece to fit in the team jigsaw       the stage finished we all had a long transfer to our hotel
and found myself working for many hours. We had            near Sheffield, I had time to reflect on the day and then
the team meal and finished off the daily routine of kit    focus on the job when we reached our destination. We
washing. The transit had a washer and drier built          were “slumming it” in a nice hotel with team Tinkoff to-
into the side and needed constant loading and re           night, every night we shared with a different team, some
loading to ensure fresh kit for the rest of the week.      nights just a couple in our hotel, other nights, half the
                                                           tour. After a couple of hours we were finished and ready
Stage 2 was a hilly stage from Yeovilton to Taunton        for our evening meal. I had a real feel of euphoria for
and I was on the hotel run again. This time I was          the rest of the night, what a day!
with Nick, another newcomer to the team, who was
in it for the same reasons as me. We had to get from       Stage 4 was another hotel transfer to Liverpool. I knew
our hotel near Southampton to near Innsworth. A            where we were going to so the journey was easy and I
long drive to a hotel that had not had any of ‘our         was ably assisted / assisting Colin again. He was from
sort’ stay there before. After 20 questions, why do        Liverpool so we were able to hit the ground running. We
you want more towels?, what is the water needed            were staying in the city centre and parking in the hotels
for? You cant have that much power from one                covered car park. When we got there only a couple of
socket!, we set about allocating rooms, depositing         teams were there and within 30 minutes the place was
unlabelled bags, setting up the van and ‘talking in’       swarming with mechanics, swanny’s and enablers. Little
the rest of the team to the difficult to find hotel. You   or no power, hardly any water and a really busy hotel.
simply get no rest on days like these! The same busy       All the rooms were not together but they were at least
night as the previous night eschewed ensued and we         on the same floor! The stage took longer than expected
had time for tea and a beer before soundly sleeping.       as there was an issue with race permits through one of
Chris had packed today; issues at home had forced          the counties the race passed through, then a transfer
him to leave the tour, one of the younger riders had       from the finish in Bradford. Once we marshalled the cars
into the set aside slots we found that our water and     I finished the last two bikes and packed the van for the neat
electrics had been “shared” leaving a “disrupted”        day. I said my goodbyes to Sandy and we set off for the long
service! After some wrangling we had a better sup-       journey south. I thanked my team mates and said my good-
ply and started the usual process. The meal was          byes to everyone at the one stop we made going south. I
followed by a trip to the Cavern club (not the rid-      was dropped off at home, still buzzing from the rollercoaster
ers) and then up early for the next start, this time     week.
no transfer!
                                                         That was it. You tend to see very little of the race while you
                                                         are in it. Only when you hear the accounts from the riders
Stage 5. I must have done OK on the stage to Wol-        and see the nightly result sheets do you find out who did
verhampton as I was asked to sit in the team car         what and when. It was a steep learning curve for some peo-
again with John. This time we had Charlie Jackson        ple in the team. Some were seasoned professionals and this
(no relation) in the car. He is the owner of the Re-     is what they do for a living, others like me, dovetailed into
cycling.co.uk firm, based in Preston, which is the       the team and held on for the ride!
main sponsor of the team. His wife was with us as
well. A stiff wind from the coast was present for
most of the day and the stronger teams and riders        Would I do it again? All the feedback that I have received has
used that to string out the peloton into a long line     been positive and I really enjoyed the season. Would I do it
soon after the neutralised zone. The course was          again? Just you try and stop me!!
really lumpy today and many riders lost heaps of
time. The crowds were superb, lots of vocal support
on the climbs and the finish area was packed. No         I would like to say a few thanks.
mechanicals or punctures again, just another day
learning what goes on. The riders came across the        John, Charlie and the team of volunteers, pressed men and
line in Kendal and seemed a little dispirited; nobody    regulars, thanks for your time, understanding and input.
said it was going to be easy. Tom had to stay for        Aaron and Sandy, for showing me what you do and teaching
dope control and he stayed with John who was with        me a trick or two along the way.
some of the recycling guests in hospitality. Another     The riders, Chris, Rob, Adam, Ryan, Simon, Tom, Graham
long transfer, this time to the Scottish border town     and Luke, keep up the good work and see you next time.
of Dumfries and we met the massed ranks of Team          Thanks must go to Mick Cutler and “H”. Without Mick’s intro-
Tinkoff firmly camped in the same hotel. Once we         duction to “H” and his foot in the door none of this would
had completed the post race procedures and sorted        have been possible, thanks, and I will always owe you one!
the bikes and vehicles, Sandy and I could let our
hair down and use the pool in the hotel fitness          Mike Jackson.
suite. This was to be the last hotel that we would
be staying in on this year’s TOB and I noticed that
the remaining riders were gearing up for one final       Ed note— The RAF Cycling Club takes part in a whole spec-
effort for the last day.                                 trum of events from road racing, including the RAFCC Road
                                                         Champs; mountain bike endurance events including the four
Every hotel had been very different but ultimately       biggest events on the mountain bike calendar, Mountain May-
only a place to put your head until the next day.        hem, Sleepless in the Saddle, Trans Wales / Scotland and the
You only needed to really worry about what was           RAFCC MTB Champs; cyclocross including the Cyclocross
happening that day. Colin taught me that; he would       Champs including one of the rounds of the Lincs cyclocross
say “That’s tomorrow, that’s a day away”!                league. Mike has provided support for as many of these
                                                         events as he is able, and his support has proved most valu-
The last stage dawned with some light rain in the        able in achieving the high standards during races and ex-
air, the first of the week. This stage would pass        peds. Many of the events that are hosted by the RAFCC
many of the landmarks that I passed on this year’s       would not get off the ground if it were not for a group of
Trans-Scotland and I was to drive to the finish in       people dedicated to the success of events that are enjoyed
Glasgow and sort out water & showers for our rid-        by hundreds of cyclists every year. I personally would like to
ers. There was to be no hotel at the end of the          extend our great appreciation to all that have supported cy-
stage but many of the team were to do a crit in          cling within the RAFCC over the last 12 –18 months, particu-
Warwick on the next day so their bikes needed sort-      larly Mike as he will soon be leaving the RAF. As ever more
ing out. Do they ever rest? I blagged an area near       people are needed to help out at events, either to support
the finish line to sort the bikes, it had a good water   the event and organisers or the riders themselves.
supply and I waited for the riders and rest of the
team to arrive. Tom Diggle’s bike arrived with the       If you are interested in helping out at these events please
feed bus, closely followed by Simon Holts. The two       make contact with the relevant Discipline Sec. In particular
had packed on the brutal last stage. John was            the RAF Champs and RAF Cyclocross Champs are up on us in
happy with their overall performance and we waited       Sept and Oct respectively. If you are interested please do
for the last of the weary bunch to arrive. Once they     get in touch!!
were over the line, Sandy arrived to collect his kit
and meet his driver to take him home to Peebles.
           Mountain Mayhem ‘08
As the first 24 Hour event I’ve competed in, Mountain Mayhem was quite an introduction. The weekend started with
drinks on the Friday night, meaning that several of those competing didn’t get to bed until 3am! So we woke up on
Saturday morning to a miserable drizzly day, with everyone hoping that the rain would hold off properly until the end
of the race. With the bacon butties helping several hangovers, preparations began for the start of the race at 2pm.
The highlight of the preparations had to be walking into the mechanics tent to find Shabby attacking his bottom
bracket with a hammer, didn’t work and the fix came from a can of lube!

The teams consisted of:
      RAFCC Team One:
           Dan Lewis, Paul Kiff, Si Harrison and Paul Cooke
      RAF Singlespeed:
           Mick McLauchlan, Bryan Crossman, Alan Davies and Ron Finch
      RAF Mixed:
           Trev Batey, Al Robinson, Keith Rusling, Lou Robins and Andy Holmes

The rain graciously ceased half way through the morning, allowing the ground to dry out and provide a fast and tech-
nical course for the start of the race. Dan Lewis having run the mile at the start came through the archway first to col-
lect his bike. After the excitement of the start, the rest of the team wandered back to camp to get ready for their lap,
eat, sleep or just chill.

The course was riding well in the afternoon with some fast lap times being churned out. The fastest lap time came
from Dan Lewis with 00:44:36 and average lap times for the rest of the team were from 45mins to around an hour for
an 8.5 mile lap. Unfortunately the weather didn’t stay on our side and the drizzle picked up again as darkness fell with
the heavy rain coming down just before midnight churning up parts of the singletrack making line choice incredibly
important if you didn’t fancy the walk! During the night the lap times increased by at least 20 minutes and some riders
were struggling to get round in double the time thanks to the mud which turned to clay. Throughout the night and
breaking into dawn the only way to get round most the course was sideways and I became very good at back wheel
skidding round the corners!!

As dawn broke, the weather cleared up and by 8am the sun was out and the trail was drying sending the lap times
back to around 45 mins to an hour. As 2pm on Sunday approached, careful calculations were being made by each
team as to how to maximise the number of laps completed.

The RAFCC Team One were the first Services back and so took the title again! The results for the teams were:
     RAFCC Team One – 7/248 completing 25 laps in 24:09:28
     RAFCC Mixed – 26/148 completing 20 laps in 24:41:11
     RAFCC Singlespeed – 94/248 completing 18 Laps in 24:27:30
     RAFCC Team Four – 189/248 completing 12 laps in 20:40:45

                                                                              The four teams were as successful as
                                                                              they were thanks to the awesome pit
                                                                              crew consisting of Jacko, Dan’s Dad &
                                                                              friend, Wendy and Mads. Mayhem as
                                                                              always destroyed both bikes and people
                                                                              alike making the Pit Crew invaluable in
                                                                              cleaning, fixing the bikes and massaging
                                                                              the riders and keeping smiles on the
                                                                              faces of everyone throughout the event.
                                                                              All of which helped to reduce the admin
                                                                              time at the end of each lap giving maxi-
                                                                              mum time to recovery and preparations
                                                                              for the next lap.

                                                                                       Report by Lou Robins
                         Help for Heroes
                      Big Battlefield Bike Ride
The challenge took myself and 299 others from HMS Victory in Portsmouth, across the channel
to Caen travelling through northern France and returning to London.

The route traced some of the region’s most significant WW1 & WW2 battle
sites, including the Normandy landing beaches and trenches near Thiep-
val on the Somme.
Thank you to all those who have sponsored us and making it possible to
do this demanding journey. In all the riders raised over £1.6M enabling
Help for Heroes to go ahead with improving rehabilitation facilities and build-
ing a new full-size swimming pool at the tri-service rehabilitation unit Headley Court.

Monday 26th May

We arrived at HMS Victory as the rain poured down and the Red Arrows flew over-
head, the Royal Marines Band marched and the Commodore waved the Help for He-
roes flag, the sun shone through. The Headley Court team escorted us to the ferry,
where we waited and waited and….

We boarded the ferry at midnight and found the bar before it quickly announced last orders.

Tuesday 27th May

I woke up on the morning of my 28th birthday to the sound of foreign opera
music at deafening volume at 0530! Breakfast was a brief chocolate croissant
before finding our bikes and leaving for the ferry. Our adventure had begun. A
short journey brought us to Pegasus Bridge and an extra well needed break-
fast. A Historian provided us with a background to the Pegasus Bridge glider
landings. Then we had our first moving ceremony, Mme Arlette Gondree (who’s
house was the first to be liberated by allied troops, when she was four) handed a wreath to Sgt
Stu Pearson, one of the Headley Court team who placed it on the memorial. A second smaller
ceremony was held outside Mme Gondree’s house for the Rifles, Airborne and Army Air Corps.
The wreath was laid by Cpl Tony Burbidge from the Rifles and part of the Headley Court team.
General Richard Shireff and Mme Gondree both spoke on the importance of the Allied relation-

                         We left Pegasus Bridge and the hills soon started to appear. The team
                         spirit was fantastic, I spent my day plodding along as I knew the next two
                          days were 70+ miles each and there was no point tiring myself out. You
                           cannot underestimate the struggle others faced, and getting up the hills,
                            using one leg or just their arms were problems for the Headley Court
                            team. Others were Lords, Ladies and Generals all who were considera-
                     bly older than myself, one mature lady cycled the whole journey with a broken
        wrist in cast. Others had never mended a puncture or even had chance to do any training.

Lunch was a huge morale boost and as cyclists arrived quiet and tired the good
food soon got them all chatting and laughing again. The afternoon revealed more
evil hills and a dicey path over the Pont de Normandie and through the city of Le
Havre. After sixty odd miles, two accidents and a top speed of 66 km/hr reached
by Rory on his hand bike, we arrived at the hotels ready for a bath, a stint at the
bar and supper. Knowing bets were being placed on the Headley Court teams’ ability to complete
the first day, they all showed amazing determination and got to the hotels on their bicycles. The
reality of this challenge was brought home when a chap crashed into a culvert, breaking five ribs
and needing stitches and a lady's back wheel was clipped by a truck. Very sadly the chap had to
return to the UK but the lady was given the all clear after being checked out by the hospital. My
top speed today had been 46mph on a nice long downhill stretch, my only worry – would I get
stopped in time if a junction appeared!

We then checked into the Novatel, at £7.50 a pint, my tight Yorkshire man wallet was in need of a

Wednesday 28th May 2008

The ride started at 8:30am heading out of Le Havre. We followed the markers from
the hotels, through a tunnel littered with glass, needless to say there were numer-
ous punctures and I found myself helping with mechanicals, chain suck, punctures
and derailleur problems before the first water stop. The first memorial site visited
                was at Fontaine La Malet, then a speedy rush to the chocolate stop where the me-
                chanics were put to work!
                We were all progressing well, with a few comical falls and some not so comical but
                laughter being heard in the end. Suddenly a group started forming in a lane, all the
                riders had been stopped as the route markers had been moved and the riders
                were about to head off into a forest! It was such fun, an impromptu stop seemed to
                help morale especially in a beautiful spot.
Lunch did not prove as restful as yesterday as the heavens opened and the wind howled. The rid-
ers got wet and cold huddling under the shelter until they decided to move on to the next wreath
laying ceremony. Many of the riders made it to St Valerie en Caux to hear the historical account
and see the wreath being laid by tandem rider Col. Robin Simpson an Army doctor and linked to
the 51st Highland Regiment. The memorial is on high and exposed ground
so consequently the wind chill was a concern but again the ceremony was
very well done and a moving experience for those able to attend.
Just as some were struggling the roads opened up into beautiful countryside
and the sun broke through, gleaming down onto a very relieved pack of cy-
clists. It is amazing how everyone started smiling and the cheeky banter
started again. Through picturesque villages we cycled, some rushing and enjoying the speed
whilst others stopped to take photos and went at a more leisurely pace.

We were all bewildered when few turned up at the second water stop only to find a bar a few hun-
dred yards before crowded with H4H cycling shirts! The freewheeling to Dieppe was clearly fun
especially for those staying on the sea front, but for others further out they turned around to see a
mile long very steep hill climb. A rather nasty end to a 77 mile long day.
The majority of us gathered in the same restaurant for our evening meal, not knowing what any-
thing was we tucked in, afterwards I was told I’d just had a crab version of a spring roll – I hate
seafood. We then went outside and had a presentation from a historian about the beach landings
and how they assaulted Dieppe.
That night another important event was marked with a Memorial in Dieppe for the Royal Marines
and Canadians, represented by our female, Canadian cyclist and the Royal Marine team as
wreath layers.
One star of many who we must mention is Celia Fielder who has had a tough time but was so de-
termined to do the ride that she continued to train after a cycling accident that left her with a bro-
ken wrist. In plaster she cycled again in Richmond, had another accident and smashed her
thumb. Worried but keen she started and is still going, with use of only one break, she hurtles up
and down the hills with the best of them. Her story is an example of many on this ride all humbling
in their determination and commitment.
                      Thursday 29th May 2008

                          The theme for today was rain and punctures. It started off bright as the rid-
                           ers left Dieppe but the rain soon appeared. The route had more flat areas
                           for speed but some shocking hills, one being up a dual carriageway. Al-
                     though the heads were down and all one could see was a broken line of hel-
              mets, we powered on. The side of the road was littered with people waiting to have
      tyres fixed and the rescue vans were put to good use. The Royal Marines support team were
fantastic zooming up and down the route fixing bikes in the pouring rain, whilst the cyclists
hopped in the back for a few minutes shelter. A few had larger problems with their bikes so were
put in the minibus for the end stage, so that their bikes could be fixed over night.
The first stop was for a memorial visit and guided tour of Grandcourt. This is small cemetery pre-
dominantly for Scottish and Canadian soldiers. The second was Cauillon and Crouy British ceme-
tery. There were however a couple of German and French graves and one female. It struck many
how young these soldiers were when they died. As we stopped the sun came out and the beauti-
fully tended graves were striking in white against the lush countryside. A wreath was laid here by
3 members of the RAF, Tim Burgess, Paul Humphrey and Stuart Milton. The RAF were chosen
as there were quite a few RAF graves there. It was also interesting to hear that the site was a
field hospital which had to be evacuated and moved. Therefore all of the graves are named as
the soldiers were identified when they were admitted.
Today was my “low” day, the 40 mile point just seemed to go on forever and with the never end-
ing battle with the weather and helping a lad with 4 punctures in 300 metres, then having my only
puncture of the day, I was soaking wet through, so glad I had rode with my fleece cycling shirt!
Never mind, my skin’s waterproof!!
People struggled with morale this afternoon especially as two of the hotels were 6 miles on from
the end destination, which after cycling 78 miles is a painful extra slog. In the bar however we
could hear people discussing the miles they still had left and as the longest day was over spirits
My hotel was 6 miles out of Amiens, with a never-ending hill to climb, after a near miss with the
back of a bus, myself & Phil Radcliffe soon found Heaven at the top of the hill – The Golden
Arches of McDonalds! Needless to say, ordering in broken French was interesting. Our hotel was
just round the corner, as we approached we had been told that for one night some of us would be
staying a 1 star hotel – yep, you guessed it, we found it. On the downside, the beds were 5cm
apart and I was sharing with Phil “Pretty Boy” Radcliffe who discovered his mas-
sage oil bottle had broken in transit and appeared from the bathroom smothered
in oil – scared, I ran to the restaurant. On the upside, we had free wine!!

Friday 30th May 2008

With the sun doing its best to burn through the mist, we caught a minibus to
the start point (another advantage of being furthest away the night before) and left
                Amiens at 8:30am and made our way to Thiepval. I managed to catch up with
                  Tom (I sleep like Crazy Frog) King, within two miles and caught a brief rest hold-
                   ing on to his panniers before pushing on. Through the week, me and Phil had
                     heard nothing but, Dawes Galaxy this, Panniers that, extra weight for overtak-
                      ing racing bikes downhill the other; so I decided to go all out and show him
                        what you can’t do on a ruddy dawes!
                        At 11:00am the gates of Theipval opened specially for us (the memorial is
                 currently closed for refurbishment) and we all made our way up to this most com-
          manding memorial. Designed by Lutyens for the missing, around 70,000 names are in-
   scribed on the arches. The Royal Signals squadron led an especially moving ceremony with
four riders officiating. Sir Philip Trousdell, Colonel Commandant of the Royal Irish Regiment intro-
duced the wreath layers, Lord Hamilton representing the Ulster Regiment and Charlotte Peel,
Winston Churchill’s granddaughter. Annabel Jones of The Duke of York’s School in Dover read
the Remembrance Prayer.
devoid of trees other than a lone tree which was the furthest point our troops
had managed to reach.
After this very emotional morning we streamed through beautiful countryside
and into the small village of Ransart, where we stopped at a school for lunch.
The local press came out to see the arrival and the villagers were amazed at the
spectacle. Thankfully the rain held off and the ride back to the hotels was less daunting
than the last couple of days. We all arrived safely (one hospital trip to check out a shaken
faller) with soaring spirits ready to get some rest. It was beginning to strike the cyclists that the
ride was nearly over and that only had one last long ride to do. We know however that there are
many spectacular moments for us ahead.
This day was an especially poignant day for everyone but for some even more so as they made
personal tributes to friends or family members .
Today I did 64 miles in 4 hours 12 minutes, with a max speed of 40.6 mph on the mighty Giant. I
approached the dinner time stop and had to wait for food to be put out, for the first time ever, I
thought this was quite strange. I waited at dinner to meet some of the people I had been riding
with on previous days. I pushed on to the last water stop, where I caught up with the Dell com-
puters team and rode on to become the first in to the hotel. I managed to do all my washing, and
waited just over an hour for Tom to arrive – “can’t come first on a Dawes can you Tom”!

Saturday 31st May

We were given a window of 2 hours to start this morning, I don’t know if it was be-
cause we were all drunk the night before! We had to ride 55 miles before 1pm
from Bethune to Dunkirk. The earliest set off at about 5am but at 8am there were a
couple of confident men still eating breakfast. I had been talking to the BFBS cam-        era crew
and was fitted with a small camcorder to film from the handlebars today.
On the way at a water stop riders were calculating that they are going to be at Dunkirk too early
for 1pm and end up sitting around. As I caught people up, more and more bikes were stood out-
side pubs.
At Dunkirk we were given lunch and then boarded landing craft from a ramp on the port. Four of
                     these landing craft took 70 cyclists each and took them out to HMS Bulwark
                     who was waiting in deeper waters. The crafts went into the hull of the ship
                     and the water drained off. The Captain and the crew of the ship, a combina-
                     tion of the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines welcomed us cyclists.

                     The memorial service on the flight deck was conducted by the ships Padre
and two of our riders, Richard Burge, read an extract of his Grandfather’s diary who was rescued
on D day and Caroline Innes whose Grandfather is buried near to Dunkirk. They threw a wreath
overboard and said the Remembrance prayer.

We were then given cakes and Help for Heroes Spitfire Ale whilst tours were conducted around
the ship. Martin Hewitt and Dave Hepburn gave a talk on Headley Court. The ship then arrived at
Dover Harbour and the four craft landed with the cyclists on Dover Beach. The reception was fan-
tastic, amazed locals and supporters watched the cyclists walk off the craft, surrounded by the
Royal Marines and waiting press. The Red Devils then gave a spectacular display, parachuting in
formation into the sea. I walked off the Landing Craft, smugly grinning that I’d missed all the cam-
eramen – only to be emailed three days later, one picture had found its way onto the defence
intranet and my friend had posted on the RAF Cycling forum, gutted!

A special celebratory supper followed when the cyclists were showered and changed. We all lis-
tened to Richard Benyon thank those involved and Craig Lundberg conduct the most amusing
auction. The items sold included Bryn Parry’s first sketch of the Help for Heroes Bear, Rory’s cy-
cling shirt, a Royal Marines cycling strip and Peta (The Suns page 3 girl’s) shorts and bicycle!
A fun night was had by all!

Sunday 1st June 2008

The riders were taken by coach after breakfast to the Cadet Training
centre in Blackheath. We chatted and took group photos before mount-
ing their bikes for the last time as the H4H team. We set off in small groups, at
regular intervals. We wound our way through London for 8 miles before arriving in White-
hall Place to the applause of the crowd. It was here I met Martin from NCP, one of my sponsors.
Many tears of joy were shed as the team realized the feat they had accomplished. At the Ceno-
taph the Headley Court team were part of the ceremony conducted by CSM Andy Newall. Martin
Hewitt laid the wreath, given to him by Mr Richard Pym of Halfords. Once the ceremony finished,
the rest of the riders all followed the Headley Court team through the crowds and into Horse
Guards. The Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Richard Dannatt spoke to the riders and
spectators on the importance of Headley Court and the bravery of the members of the Armed
Forces. Bryn Parry then accepted the Halfords sponsorship from Mr Pym.

What followed the formalities was a wonderful sight of a team saying goodbye. A week ago nearly
300 strangers met at Portsmouth about to undertake a huge challenge. This afternoon they were
friends saying goodbye, many having formed strong friendships.

The event was an emotional roller coaster. One moment we were all joking, the next providing
support for tough hills or tired limbs and then being part of memorial services. The Battlefield sites
added gravity and reality to the ride, a stark reminder of the sacrifices made by so many.

I heard many wonderful things throughout the week but quite a few times we were told that for
some it had been life changing, for others a chance to show their support for a cause in which
they truly believe.

All I can say is a huge thank you to all involved; the riders, support team and all those who have
sponsored the riders. Your sponsorship helped raise over one million pounds.

Iain Hollington

Taking part in a ride for a good cause? Write a report and let everyone know how
well you have done!! Email it to flmeditor@rafcycling.org.uk
     Cranwell and Lincolnshire
        League Cyclo Cross
RAF Cranwell was the location for the opening round of the Lincolnshire Cyclo-Cross League,
the event was organised by Lee Simpson and Chris O’Rourke with assistance from various
other RAF CC members. The league is a long standing series of events in Lincolnshire and
while Cranwell has been host to the event before it has previously been organised by the Slea-
ford Wheelers Club.

The course provides a number of challenges some of which are not usually found on a cyclo-
cross course. Starting in the open fields along with long grass and rutted surface the course en-
countered two boards which required a dismount and run over before entering the woods; twist-
ing between the trees it then opened out onto a long rooty straight. At the end of the straight a
sharp hairpin led into a series of dips and large roots which could be taken at speed given the
correct line choice, more woodland paths although wider formed the next portion of the course
before a steep descent into a sandpit posing some interesting challenges for the skinny cyclo-
cross tyres. A fast flat portion led to the bottom of the only climb on the course ‘cardiac hill’ a
favourite of cadets at Cranwell is a long draggy gravel climb. A grass field section ended the
course this included an entertaining 360 degree loop around a bush and several hairpin bends.
An extensive racing programme started in the morning with the junior race who completed
30mins of laps on the full course, a fast competitive race saw a win for Lawrence Frost, the fast
pace gave some indication of what was to follow later in the day. An U12 race was conducted
around the grass field section of the main course and saw a variety of ages and bikes ridden
with great enthu-
siasm and spirit.

The main event
of the day saw a
large field of rid-
ers take the start,
the Lincs League
events are usu-
ally well sup-
ported but the
cancellation of
the 3 Peaks
meant that a
number of top
level cyclo-cross
racers decided to
ride the Cranwell
event including
the RAFs own
Dan Lewis. There
was a large
spread of experi-
ence and age
ranges entered
into the event including new RAFCC member Paul Rochford riding a mountain bike. He was
joined in representing the mountain bike fraternity by Martin Pearson. Chris O’Rourke was the
fourth RAFCC member racing although like Dan Lewis he rode a traditional cyclo-cross bike.

Due to the large numbers the top 20 riders were gridded leaving the other 50 or so to fill in from
the rear of the grid. The start proved critical, Dan Lewis positioned himself well as the lead riders
sprinted from the line, Martin Pearson started well taking a somewhat alternative line through
deep ruts using the mountain bike suspension to full advantage. Chris O’Rourke was somewhat
less lucky from the start getting caught up in a tumble at the first left hander compromising his
race from the beginning.

The usual frenetic start followed with the first lap being conducted at an astonishing pace as the
leaders tried to string the field out. The race settled down with the usual position swapping, Dan
Lewis maintained a very strong position in and around the top ten finishing in 11 place. Martin
Pearson lost places in the first few laps following a strong start but eventually secured 28th posi-
tion. Chris O’Rourke fought back from his unlucky start and eventually finished 41. Paul Rochford
put in a good performance in his first Cyclo-Cross race and finished 59 overall.
For the first event that the RAF CC have hosted at Cranwell all went smoothly drawing a lot of
praise for the organisation of the event.

Thanks go to all those helpers who turned up the day before and on the day itself to marshal and
lay out the course, including several cadets from OACTU, and to those manning the tea and cake
tent. The event will once more be hosted by RAF CC in 2008 which will provide yet another op-
portunity to showcase both the organisational skills and racing abilities of RAF CC members.
RAF CC members have also competed throughout the cyclo-cross season in other Lincolnshire
league events in some cases in atrocious condition, Dan Lewis showed steady improvement with
a number of podium finishes which culminated in a fantastic victory in very wet muddy conditions
at Lincolnshire Police HQ
in November.

The RAFCC Is hosting this
event for a second year,
again at Cranwell, and rid-
ers are invited to take part
in the RAFCC Cyclocross
Champs either as com-
petitors or marshalls. The
championships will take
place on the 5th Oct 08
and anybody interested
should contact Lee Simp-
son, Cyclocross Manager
on 95236 x 6343, or keep
an eye on the RAFCC Fo-
rum for regular updates.
                   RAF MTB Champs
RAF Mountain Bike Championships 2008 will take place at Deepcut, Surrey on Sunday 28th
This year we are hoping to have a 4hr enduro option as well as the usual X -country race which
will be designed to be suitable for all levels, but still be ultra fun and challenging. New riders will
be most welcome, so if you know of that person who should or wants to try their first race then
bring them along to try one of the most exciting sports there is.
If we get enough help to setup the course from the Friday onwards then we will hopefully be offer-
ing a one lap night time trial.

The enduro is still subject to having enough helpers on the Sunday to marshal the event, but
hopefully with the help of the air cadets this should go ahead for the first time. Check for confir-
mation and further updates on the forum at http://www.raf.mod.uk/rafcycling/.

If you are able to assist in any way then please contact me as soon as possible. As the event will
only run with your support. So let’s help make it the biggest yet.

There is travel authority for all RAF personnel riding or supporting.

My contact details are Sgt Mick Cutler 101 Sqn, RAF Brize Norton. Carterton. Oxfordshire. 95461
ext 6540 Work email BZN-101 Sqn-A AVSNCO 3 and home email cutlerracing@aol.com or mo-
bile 07795 226353.

Application forms will be available online at http://www.raf.mod.uk/rafcycling/events/
as soon as the events have been finalised. You should be able to pay via Paypal this year and
pre entry is strongly advised and encouraged to ensure you have a good prize pot. So it’s in all
your interests to pre-enter early so I can commit to some good prizes. Alternatively you can regis-
ter your interests with me and I will email you an entry form as soon as they become available.

Camping will be available, though unfortunately there will be no luxury facilities like proper toilets,
just portaloos. Field conditions!!

Those who offer support will have access to a good nights sleep with reasonable facilities nearby.
Now I’m not talking the Hilton, but similar if you have a good imagination.

Look forward to seeing you all there for a great weekend of fun racing.

    Our very own website is there for your use and is ably run by your web masters Mark Holliday
and Ged Doyle. On the website you can find up to the minute news and results relating to the
clubs activities. There is a large gallery for you to peruse with pics of members competing for the
club and some of the members just having a laugh riding their bikes. There is also the ever popu-
lar forum where you can post details of any group rides and different sections for the different
disciplines. If you have bits to sell or need bits there is also a sales and wants section and you
can find details of the deals that are available to us as members.

   So log on now and find out what's happening in the world of the RAFCC
                                                 QTY        ITEM                    PRICE        SIZE
       RAFCC CLOTHING                                    SHORT SLEEVE SKINSUIT      £46.50
                                                         LONG SLEEVE SKINSUIT       £48.50
                                                         BIB SHORTS                 £35.00
RANK, INITIAL & NAME                                     BIB TIGHTS                 £36.50
                                                         ARM WARMERS                £9.00
                 ADDRESS                                 LEG WARMERS                £10.00
                                                         KNEE WARMERS               £10.00
                                                         OVERSHOES                  £8.00
                                                         BUFF                       £10.00       1 SIZE
                                                         BIB 3/4 TIGHTS             £39.00
                                                         S/SLEEVE JERSEY            £32.00
                                                         L/SLEEVE JERSEY            £33.00
                                                         TRAINING JERSEY            £34.50
                                                         DOWNHILL JERSEY            £32.50
TEL No.                                                  GAMEX RAIN JACKET          £29.50
RAF MAIL                                                 GAMEX GILET                £26.50
                                                         FLEECE BODYWARMER          £51.00
E-MAIL                                                   THERMODRY SKI HAT          £10.50       1 SIZE
                                                         THERMO O/SHOES             £12.00
PAYMENT                                                  BANDANA                    £9.00        1 SIZE
PAYABLE TO 'RAF CYCLING'                                 DEFEET SOCKS               £5.00
CHEQUE No.                                    NOTES:
VALUE £                                       ALL TOPS FULL ZIP APART FROM DH JERSEY (3/4 ZIP)
                                              PLEASE STATE SHOE SIZE FOR SOCKS AND OVERSHOES
SGT Chris Tasker
Tri-Service School of NDT                                           CASUAL KIT
MOD St Athan                                             T- SHIRT                   £2.00
Barry                                                    POLO SHIRT                 £3.00
Vale of Glamorgan                                        TRACKPANTS                 £10.00
CF62 4HA                                                 BASEBALL CAP               £2.00

95421 7292                                    NOTES:
01446 798798 x 7292                           CASUAL KIT AVAILABLE IN SMALL - XL.
E-Mail:                                       FLEECES ARE BIG, SO ORDER A SIZE SMALLER
ndt4s2@ndts.aim.mod.uk                        POLOS ARE SMALL, SO ORDER A SIZE BIGGER

I endeavor to keep a good selection of kit in stock at all times, but levels are changing almost daily.
Please E-Mail me to check that availability suits your needs before sending any money.
Reserving items or special orders will require payment in full.
                         Royal Air Force Cycling Club
                                                       Membership Application/

Part A - Personal Details/Change to Existing Details

    Member         Rank                        Surname                                Forename(s)                                Service No2

 Work Address (including postcode)                                              GPTN Code and Extension Number

                                                                                Fax Number (if any)


 I am interested in the following disciplines ( as required)                                        BMX .   Cyclo Cross
 Time Trials          Road Racing         MTB Racing                   Track              Touring      MTB Exped        Audax

Please Indicate any Leading Qualifications
(please indicate level and date achieved)

Please indicate if you are a member of the Sports Lottery

Where did you find out about the RAFCC?

Part B - RAFCC Membership

   either Full Membership                                         or       Associate Membership
            (RAF & other armed forces personnel cur-                       (Other armed forces personnel, dependants, entitled
            rently serving with the RAF)                                   civilians or specialists)

   either First Claim Membership                                  or       Second Claim Membership

 First Claim Club (if applying for second claim membership)

                                                       Please send completed form to:

                                                                 Sgt Bishop
                                                        RAF Cycling Membership Sec.
                                                                  1 (F) Sqn
                                                             RAF Cottesmore
                                                                 LE15 7BL

                                                               GPTN (95341) 7734


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